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Lawton 8*B squeaking:(

Frank Contreras

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21
Hello ladies and gents. I have a question about my lawton8*B mouthpiece. I am getting ugly squeaks in the middle of playing. This mouthpiece is new to me. Only had squeak problems when I started playing several months ago. I had solved the squeaks with practice on other mouthpiece I had. I just got this lawton and I'll be darned the squeak is back, I know it's not me. It's suddenly the mouthpiece!! At least I'm convinced of this. Any thoughts on this mouthpiece?

I am playing with a Legere 2/14. I have used Vandoren 2 & 2/12 & a 3. I can't blow the 3. Too thick to get sound out consistent.

Best luck has been with the Legere though it squeaks w mouthpiece. I' very read to try a Admiral Superial reed??

Baritone reed I have also read May solve squeak??

Any other thoughts?? Change reed?? Which one? Many thanks Frank

Would appreciate any thoughts on this issue
 

Colin the Bear

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Go softer. Small tip hard reed, wide tip soft reed.

8 is quite wide. Try a 1 or 1.5
 

Frank Contreras

New Member
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21
I'll be. Much better. Still minor squeak, but not nearly as bad. Some practice should overcome squeak. Wow thank you!!!!!! Think your answer pretty much solved my issue:). Many thanks for responding. Much smoother playing!!!

Should I go down in reed softness with the Legerd reed too? I was just playing on a Vandoren 1 1/2 reed
 

jbtsax

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I suspect that the new mouthpiece has a wider tip opening and thinner side rails than the one you were playing on before. If that's the case, it is both you and the mouthpiece. A mouthpiece like that just takes more embouchure control. When that is developed you will be rewarded with a bigger sound and quicker response.

Squeaks happen when one side of the reed vibrates and the other does not. Make sure you put your reeds on perfectly straight and have your mouthpiece set so that you don't put more pressure on one side or the other. If your top front teeth are uneven, it may help to use a thick mouthpiece patch. Practicing long tones on your mouthpiece and neck is a good way to develop embouchure control. The note to produce is an Ab concert on alto and an E concert on tenor. As Colin said a reed that is a bit softer will prevent you from "biting" when you play.
 

kevgermany

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Also try pulling your lips in from the sides. Works for me.
 

David Roach

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Squeaks can be caused by a great number of factors. Freddie Gregory told me that he felt it happened when the tip of the reed closes to the tip of the mouthpiece, but the rest of the body of the reed does not, thus creating a gap at the sides of the reed in the middle of the facing. If this is so, then there are several factors that could cause this to happen and undeveloped embouchure is definitely one of them; but then so is a badly faced mouthpiece, or a mouthpiece with an extreme facing, or even more likely, a baffle which is higher than you are used to playing. To the best of my knowledge, Lawton now make their pieces with very long facings, much longer than when Geoff started in the 1970s. This is partly due to the company's association with a well know American star tenor player who puts a prodigious amount of mouthpiece into his mouth.

What tip was your old mouthpiece? 8*B is quite a serious mouthpiece if you are not used to it and quite developed as a player (IMHO :)).

It's particularly telling that your other piece did not squeak, especially when we consider that you are using a synthetic reed which (presumably) is more stable than any cane reed.

I suggest you try the following as an experiment with your Lawton:-

First, get a NEW reed. If you are trying to play the Lawton with an old reed which was bedded into a different mouthpiece you are almost guaranteed to squeak.

Take a huge amount of mouthpiece in to your mouth and do not bite to close the reed towards the tip - it will sound vile, but ignore that aspect for now. If you cannot get a sound without biting, you need a softer reed, this should be effort free in this experiment, but pretty weird feeling. Use lots of breath. Experiment with a position on the mouthpiece that will play OK; you may have to back off a bit to find this point and I am not advocating this approach necessarily as a normal technique but as a way of allowing the mouthpiece to show it's colours with minimal interference from your embouchure.

Does the mouthpiece still squeak? It may be worse for a while, BUT, if the piece has a good facing it will settle down. Once you feel it has settled you can experiment further with placement. If you squeak WHATEVER you do, then at the very least that particular mouthpiece is not for you! Is it 2nd hand? If so perhaps the previous owner had similar issues?

If you cannot get rid of the squeak, put the piece away and find something that plays well for you. And possibly get a teacher or find a pro who can check the mouthpiece for you.
 

David Roach

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That's great. A soft(ish) reed is a good way to find out what's going on with any mouthpiece because it lets you relax your embouchure, and thus allows the mouthpiece to speak for itself. Work for a neutral embouchure at first - not too turned in or too turned out - until you are confident that you have the nature of the mouthpiece firmly established. Once you have that zeroed in, you can increase reed strength a bit as necessary (experiment, but on tenor especially, be relaxed) and play about with exact embouchure placement.

Keep the tongue relaxed and out of the way for the time being, plenty of time to focus on tonguing when you have the embouchure better set :clapping:.
 

jbtsax

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Squeaks can be caused by a great number of factors. Freddie Gregory told me that he felt it happened when the tip of the reed closes to the tip of the mouthpiece, but the rest of the body of the reed does not, thus creating a gap at the sides of the reed in the middle of the facing.
This is an interesting comment. I have never heard of such a thing. I am wondering how that could happen when one's top teeth are above where the reed and mouthpiece come together and the bottom lip contacts the reed directly below that location.
 

David Roach

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The reed has to close the facing entirely during vibration, in fact I think the reed spends 50% of it's time entirely closed against the facing, NO MATTER how much mouthpiece is inside the mouth. If it didn't do so, no sound would initiate. This is a physical fact and simply put, it's how the instrument works. Same with clarinet, and with the double reeds too.

It's also why the thickness of the tip rail, for instance, has a huge effect upon the sound and response of the instrument.

The embouchure provides a damping mechanism to the reed. More mouthpiece in and less lip on the reed, the less the reed's vibration is damped, but it is ALWAYS closing against the facing for a portion of the time it's making a sound. That's why the facing is so important and can be manipulated to provide more or less resistance etc etc.
 

Colin the Bear

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Use a softer reed and soak it first is probably all that's needed here. Having the reed too far forward will also produce squeaks. Move it back 0.25mm
 

jbtsax

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This is an area in which I have done quite a bit of research. You may be interested to know that at softer levels of playing, the reed does not close the aperture at the tip of the mouthpiece. At pianissimo there are virtually no harmonics present as the reed moves "sinusoidally" creating more of a pure sine wave. As one crescendos, harmonics begin to be added to the sound. At air pressures more than half of the maximum pressure needed to permanently close the opening, the reed starts to "beat" which means it closes the opening each cycle of vibration. Once the "beating" of the reed begins somewhere between mp and mf the player can feel a difference and a listener can hear the difference in the sound. You can test this by playing a crescendo starting at pp.

What is really interesting is that unlike a cylindrical instrument like the clarinet in which the "beating" reed is open 50% of the time and closed 50% of the time, the saxophone has a different ratio. It is open a longer period of time than it is closed. In the clarinet the "compression" wave that returns to open the reed must travel the length of the instrument to the first open tonehole and back. On the saxophone, the "compression" wave that reopens the reed does so in the time it would take the wave to travel to the apex of the missing cone and back.
 

Colin the Bear

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@jbtsax That's very interesting. Is this common to all mouthpieces or do the internals of the mouthpiece affect which harmonics are added and when?

As you know, I'm experimenting again and looking for an alto piece. I noticed when trying a link recently that when pushed there was a distinct change in tone as if the sound was breaking. My old Ben Davis gives the same sound no matter how hard you push it but gets to a point where the volume doesn't increase. The old selmer Goldentone I'm auditioning is very dark when played quietly but goes very bright when pushed. A real screamer.

I've been quite surprised how sweet and loud my new metalite clarinet piece plays. I was expecting the wide tip opening to make more volume availablebut was expecting the high baffle to give the same sort of effect it does on saxophone but it's very different. Very sweet when pushed. Will that be the cylindrical bore? And strangely I'm using a much harder reed 3.5 rico royale up from a 2.5 even though the tip opening is up to .065" from 0.045" which was counter intuitive for me.
 

jbtsax

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Sax mouthpieces have a profound effect upon the recipe of harmonics that are produced. High baffles accentuate the higher harmonics, larger and rounder chambers allow the fundamental and lower harmonics to predominate. As I understand it, the acoustic impedance and resonances in the body tube have an effect as well, but it is the mouthpiece that creates the wave for the tube to work with.

I believe the cylindrical bore of the clarinet reacts differently to changes in mouthpiece design, but beyond that I don't know any of the specifics. I do know that because there is no "truncated cone" on a clarinet that the instrument isn't as fussy about mouthpiece volume as saxophones tend to be.
 

David Roach

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Use a softer reed and soak it first is probably all that's needed here.

True, but if the table is not flat, or the rails uneven.....it's still going to squeak, or at the least, play badly.

Having the reed too far forward will also produce squeaks. Move it back 0.25mm

Hmm, never experienced that one. I often move a reed back or forward on a mouthpiece to increase or decrease the resistance or warmth of a reed. Never got a squeak that way (unless you are talking about ridiculous distances?).
 

altissimo

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in my experience, Lawtons have longer facings than most other mouthpieces and this seems to lead to squeaks if you're not used to them. Try taking more mouthpiece in your mouth and use a more flexible reed with a shallower cut. Adjusting your embouchure to it may take a while.
My Lawton was hell to control for 3 months until I put a fibracell on it and suddenly it started behaving itself a bit more, it's still a bit of a devil to control, but it's a lot more resonant than other pieces, which makes it more efficient and louder, but also tends to squeal if you don't keep it under control
I think Lawton facings are a bit different and the transition from table to facing curve is quite gradual and this is where it tends to squeak, so it's important to find the 'bite point' for your lower lip
 

jbtsax

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When the saxophone is played, the resonant frequency of the body tube couples with the vibrating reed causing the reed to vibrate at that frequency. When a reed "squeaks" it is vibrating at its own natural frequency. It is the "dampening" of the reed's vibrations by the player's lower lip that allows the resonant frequency of the tube to "take charge".
 

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